Many people come to me with business ideas and are worried the ideas would be stolen if they don’t act fast. These are mostly Dynamo Geniuses. Most of the time, the idea they are talking about is one of the 20 ideas they’ve got now, all of which are totally different from the ideas they had a year ago. The belief is that a new idea will give them the first mover advantage which will enable them to make lots of money.
Ideas and first mover advantage are overrated. “The early bird catches the worm”, they say. But, how about the early worm that gets caught by the bird? There are pros and cons to being a first mover and it’s not all rosy. As a first mover, you have to learn a lot of things on your own (paying school fees) and sometimes educate the market about your product. And as a startup, you most likely can’t afford that.
Your success is not based on being first. Google was not the first search engine, there was Yahoo, Altavista, Inktomi and many others. Facebook was not the first social media platform, there was Hi5, MySpace and a lot others. Zoona was not the first mobile payments company in Zambia, there was Celpay and others.
Your success is based on being persistent and finding the best business model for your and product/service for your customer. Very few companies have grown with their original ideas. Many had their original ideas fail or receive poor reception in the market or they just learnt they could do something better.
You might say but ideas matter. Of course they do. But what matters most is the people who run with the idea. Do they have the necessary skills and experience? Do they have the tenacity to stick with it and flexibility to rebuild as they go? Can these people be trusted to make it work? Can they respond to the market and fulfil what the market wants not what the founders are obsessed with?
Tenacity is a big factor because many quit or go into something totally different before the original idea has materialized. It’s like they plant maize and wait a few days and then learn about opportunity sunflower offers and they get into sunflower. And so they keep chasing value instead of attracting value. Therefore, instead of chasing butterflies, grow a garden of flowers that attracts the butterflies. The butterflies stay where they trust they will find lots of flowers. Be good at one thing and create trust around that.
By the way, ff you would like to know if you are Dynamo, Blaze , Tempo or Steel genius take the free Genius test here.